Friday, April 4, 2008

T-shirt design

Given our last discussion on sexual assault, I found this article timely.
The New York Times published this article about allowing rape survivors to "own the experience", says the creator of these shirts. I think it would take a very brave woman to wear such a shirt.

This T-Shirt Is About Rape

t shirt

In 2004, Jennifer Baumgardner distributed T-shirts with a bold message across their fronts in blocky blue text: “I Had an Abortion.” More recently, the Williamsburg-based writer and activist decided to apply her T-shirt approach to consciousness-raising to the subject of rape.

But the straightforward approach of her first rape T-shirt didn’t seem quite right for shirts she hoped to distribute on campuses through a sex-education Web site, as reported in today’s Big City column.

She and a graphic designer friend tried to counter the passivity of the sentence construction “I was raped,” by placing the sentence in a cartoon dialogue bubble, in bright pink.

“Too ebullient,” said Ms. Baumgardner.

A third approach went in the opposite direction: a white T-shirt with one word — “Raped” — pseudo spray-painted on in black.

“Too shocking,” she decided.

Finally, she approached her friend, Vinnie Angel, a graphic artist perhaps best known for designing Vinnie’s Tampon Case. His concept: a safe with its door wide open, revealing inside a small notecard that reads, in handwriting, “I was raped.”

“What the safe design loses is shock value,” said Ms. Baumgardner, but that’s not what she was going for in the first place.

What was she going for? A shirt that would let rape victims “own the experience,” she says, and would help chip away the cone of silence that surrounds a crime with humiliation at its core.

A shirt that would start conversations.

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